Perspectivist Challenges for ECD Intervention in Africa

  • Robert Serpell
Part of the Palgrave Studies on Children and Development book series (PSCD)


Communication among different stakeholders about early childhood education is complicated by differences between their perspectives on the topic. Scientists interpret child development and education in terms of explanatory models that resonate with their disciplinary preoccupations, policymakers in terms of political agendas, professionals such as teachers in terms of principles shared by a community of practice, and primary caregivers in terms of parental ethnotheories and local community norms. Effective communication requires negotiation among such contrasting perspectives by exploring commonalities and discrepancies in the middle ground between shared horizons and ostensible referents. Currently dominant scientific models were established through mutually confirmatory communication among authors, subjects and audiences sharing a set of middle-class, Western cultural premises. They often manifest discrepancies from the ethnotheories of primary caregivers in rural and low-income urban African communities. The challenge this poses for ECD intervention in Africa is illustrated for goals of social adjustment, practical competence and social responsibility.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Serpell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ZambiaLusakaZambia

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